The 13 Best Free Alternatives to Microsoft Visio

Organizing things just makes life easier. A place for everything and never let it get out of place. If you’re that person, you know about Microsoft Visio. Visio is an industry-standard software for creating flowcharts, diagrams, and schematics of all kinds. If you’ve got access to Visio at work, you’re lucky. But Microsoft Visio costs a lot for just personal use.

So what’s a good, free Microsoft Visio alternative? There are plenty of options to replace Visio. Whether you’re using a PC or a Mac, there’s a free Visio-like app for you. Yes, even for Android, iOS, and Linux. Here’s our list of the best free Visio alternatives. We saved the best ones for last.

Platforms: All, Browser-based
Price: Free

Looking for a lightweight, convenient way to diagram simple things? ASCIIFlow is a good web-based app for you. It makes an ASCII diagram of ordinary keyboard characters. Because the ASCII character specification is nearly universal, it’s ideal for throwing a small diagram in an email. For the same reason, ASCIIFlow is very limited in its capabilities.

Platforms: All, Browser-based
Price: Freemium

The free version of Coggle is good for mind-mapping or simple process mapping. Share unlimited public diagrams, have real-time collaboration, upload images, and export to text and Visio formats. For $5 a month, Coggle gives you all that plus more item shapes and greater control over lines. 

Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux
Price: Free

Why isn’t Continuity more popular? You can create diagrams just as detailed as in Visio. Freehand drawing, 3D diagrams, UML support, and a dozen different diagram themes in a free package that just keeps growing in features are a few reasons to love Continuity. The downside? You need to install the free Mono libraries for it to work. It’s not much of a downside.

Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux
Price: Free

The Apache Foundation, best known for its web server, is the current steward of OpenOffice. OpenOffice is dated, but a decent diagramming replacement for Microsoft Visio. Being free helps too. Because it uses the OpenDocument XML-based format for its files, whatever you can create will open in any program that supports the OpenDocument file format.

Platforms: All, Web-based
Price: Freemium

A highly capable browser-based tool, Cacoo is excellent for collaborating with others while working from home. Cacoo is capable of beautiful charts and diagrams for any use case.

The free version allows for unlimited users, but only 6 sheets at a time. For $5 a month, you get unlimited sheets, additional export options, and revision history. There are team and enterprise plans too, with more features.

Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, Chrome OS
Price: Free

A few years back, LibreOffice took over as the most popular free office suite. For good reason, too. There’s very little that the average person can do in Visio that they can’t do in LibreOffice Draw. Visio files open natively in LibreOffice too. It should be more popular. For Android and iOS use the Collabra Office Android and iOS app is built on LibreOffice.

Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux
Price: Free

An old-school free Visio alternative, Dia is capable enough for the home user. Its dated looks hide its versatility. If you were a technical student in the late 90s, you know Dia. Think of Dia as the portable version of Visio 2000. It can run from a USB stick, so you can use it anywhere.

Platforms: All, Browser-based
Price: Free for Students

If you have an email address with the .edu or .ac marker in the domain or subdomain, you can register for a 4-year free Professional Gliffy license. This is a great idea because your teachers won’t believe the Visio level quality of the diagrams you’ll submit. Design, engineering, or business diagrams, Gliffy does it all. The paid personal version is only $8 a month.

Platforms: All, Browser-based
Price: Freemium

Being easy to use is the strongest feature of Creately, which says a lot because it’s a full-featured Visio competitor. Its infinite canvas has to be the largest in the business.

Remotely collaborate with your team on all your business and technical diagramming needs. Free for personal use limits you to 3 documents, limited shape libraries, and basic collaboration features, yet that’s likely all you’ll need. Upgrades start at $5 a month.

10. yED

Platforms: 
yED Live: All, Browser-based, 
yED Desktop: Windows, Mac, Linux, Unix
Price: Free

How is yED free? Whatever professional type of diagram you need, you can make it in yED’s Live or Desktop versions. Make a simple diagram right away or an engineer-level diagram with some learning. yED is a complete Visio alternative. You may even like it more than Visio. Seriously, what’s the catch?

Platforms: All, Browser-based
Price: Free

You may have heard of draw.io. Well, diagrams.net is draw.io’s new name and home. From wireframing programs to electrical circuits, diagrams.net can do it. You can also import .vsdx files from Visio, and Gliffy, and Lucidchart files too. Diagrams.net is a contender for the best Visio alternative as well.

Platforms: All, Browser-based
Price: Freemium

This is the one that gets mentioned most by other tech sites. Sure, it’s good, but it’s as limited as the free plans for Gliffy, Cacoo, or Coggle. Maybe even more limited. What Lucidchart has going for it is a large user base with it being used in 99% of Fortune 500 companies. That may be enough reason to learn to use it as well as Visio.

Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux
Price: Free

If you’re an app developer, Pencil is the superb choice. Pencil ships with built-in Android and iOS GUI shapes so you can do accurate wireframing. Multi-page documents with linking between pages mean your mockups will flow dynamically too. Yes, Pencil is also capable of other Visio-like diagrams, but the app developer features really stand out.

So Long Visio!

If you can’t find a Visio alternative in that list, just cough up the money for Visio. It doesn’t matter what you need to draw, diagram, chart, or dream up, one of our best free alternatives to Microsoft Visio will make you smile.

This article was originally posted on online-tech-tips.com. Read here

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top